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Decisions with No Options?! Help.


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Alas, I was accepted to only 1 school of the 7 I applied. I have some concerns about this program that I would appreciate your input on. I am wondering if I should accept the offer or wait around until the next application cycle to hopefully have more options, or accept this offer and make the most of it. I think I already know what I am going to do, but I would really appreciate anyone's input or suggestions. I'd rather not get too specific here, but let's say it's an interdisciplinary PhD Political Science and X. 

Pros of attending this school: Generous funding, excellent fit, excellent faculty, comparatively low cost of living (I live in DC now), opportunities for competitive internal fellowships, very reputable X department, school is highly ranked in general (top 10/20), very selective program (I think I'm the only one they accepted for this program). Also, more opportunity to shine internally. If I enrolled in a more reputable program, I would be lost in a sea of highly qualified candidates and would not stand out as much (this is also kind of a con, as there will be less for me to learn from other students).  

Cons of attending this school: Interdisciplinarity of program. I am worried that political scientists won't take me seriously or that this joint PhD will be off-putting to potential employers (is this true?). Also, the political science department grad program is not very highly ranked (top 30-40), although I think they are investing in accomplished faculty to change this. The interdisciplinary program is very new, so it's difficult to gauge rank/success. All 4 graduates have placed in research universities, though.   

Pros of re-applying next cycle: can apply to more schools, possibly improve my profile by better GRE scores, finishing my master's program, and spending more time on my applications. Possibility of getting into a more attractive school, or at least getting into more than one school so that I have options, could focus on my own research in the meantime.

Cons of re-applying next cycle: Would have to find a job in DC that would hire me for only a year (wouldn't be too difficult), the school I'm considering now probably wouldn't consider me again, husband hates DC and is ready to move somewhere that isn't ridiculously expensive, no guarantee that I'll have more options (how much can I really improve myself in the next 9 months or so?)


Does anyone have any experiences or insight that might help me? I guess I'm really wondering how valid and important my "Cons of attending this school" are...



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Fit? Checked

Money? Checked

Reputation? Checked

Placement? Checked

I see no reason to not attend this school. You may wait one year to apply again, but no one can ensure that you will get into a better place. And as you said, you may be the only one who get admitted; therefore you will have all the professor's support. That is awesome. For me it is not worth delaying one year.

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I don't know much about political science but many fields are now embracing interdisciplinary research. I think it might become your strength in the field rather than your weakness when you start your academic career. 

If it is fully funded and if your research goals are closely aligned with your supervisor, I really do not think you are missing out on anything here. 

As for your concern regarding not getting taken seriously, publish in respected journals as much as you can while you are doing your PhD. Its not your degree or program that determines your value as an academic. It is your body of work and what you do while you are in your PhD and beyond. 

It is definitely a good thing to have options and CONGRATS !! I am sure you will do great regardless :) 

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I agree with everything stated above. The fact that the 4 previous graduates of the program have university careers overrules all of your cons. A "low ranked interdisciplinary program" didn't stop them from being competitive so it won't stop you either. Like @COGSCI stated, as long as you produce quality research in your program, the rank of the program and the prestige of the school won't stop you from being successful.

Plus acceptance into a program that you like with excellent funding and a good research fit doesn't happen very often. Getting into a PhD program is such a crapshoot. You may not get into a program next year even you do increase your GREs or you may get into a "better" program with crappy funding or the research may not be aligned. I am not against reapplying. This is my second time applying but the first time I applied, I was accepted into the master's program instead of the PhD level that I applied for, with little funding in a very expensive city. Your situation seems very different because you have everything you need in that offer. I would go for it. 

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